Plans advance for massive Awel y Mor wind farm off the Welsh coast
Plans for a huge offshore wind farm off the Welsh coast have advanced after the UK Planning Inspectorate accepted for consideration proposals for the 1100MW Awel y Mor project
The wind farm, which will be located around 10.5 km off the Great Orme, if the plans get the go-ahead, is being developed by RWE Renewables on behalf of the project’s partners.
The wind farm has already been designated as a nationally significant infrastructure project and is currently in the pre-examination phase of the consenting process before a public examination, which is expected to begin in September 2022.
Planning officers in Conwy advised councillors to oppose the plans at a pre-planning hearing last October after RWE Renewables put forward two options for the development:
Option A for 48 ‘large’ wind turbine generators, with a rotor diameter of up to 300m and a blade height of up to 332m above Mean High Water Springs.
Option B for up to 91 ‘small’ wind turbine generators, with a rotor diameter of up to 220m and a blade height of up to 252m above Mean High Water Springs.
Current proposals for the wind farm are for up to 50 turbines with a maximum tip height of 332m.
If approved, Awel y Môr could be built to the west of the existing Gwynt y Môr wind farm, with its grid connection planned to reach the shoreline between Rhyl and Prestatyn.
The advice urging councillors to oppose the project highlighted damage to the visual landscape, sea scape and harm to tourism and concerns were also raised about the impact on conservation areas such as Llandudno, which relies on its Victorian heritage and fears of noise pollution created by the wind farm’s construction.
The final decision on consent will rest with the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy with a decision anticipated in 2023 but as the project lies in Welsh waters, a Marine License is also required from Natural Resources Wales.
Tamsyn Rowe, Project Manager for Awel y Môr, said: “This is a significant milestone for the development of this nationally significant project, which will help meet the targets in the recently published UK energy security strategy.
“The application is made up of hundreds of pages of detailed reports and is the culmination of a great deal of hard work by the project team.
“If approved, this project will also continue RWE’s long-term role as the largest provider of renewable energy in Wales.
“This includes projects like Gwynt y Môr and Clocaenog, and the apprenticeship scheme at Coleg Llandrillo, which will develop Wales’ skills and capabilities in the sector for many years to come.”
RWE is hoping the project will be operational by 2030.
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